Recently-opened exhibition ArtNow: The Soul Is a Wanderer explores themes of paths traveled, reckoning and renewal, and the possibilities of re-imagined and self-made futures. These concepts and conversations courtesy of the 30+ works on view have inspired Second Saturday art-making and a stargazing party. Up next: #FridayFilms: ArtNow 2023 edition!
This week’s films consider the future — imagined outcomes, predicted realities, evolving narratives — and its impact on humanity’s collective and interpersonal existence. To infinity and beyond!
Barbarella (1968) | Adventure, comedy, fantasy | PG | 1 hour 38 minutes
When I think of the future, I think Barbarella. The 1968 classic stars Jane Fonda — looking HOT — traveling through space in search of a scientist who created a weapon to destroy mankind. It’s fun, shocking, and most importantly, CAMP. If you haven’t seen it, now is the perfect time; they are revamping the cult classic with a feminist twist, starring Sydney Sweeney. Sit back, have a snack and prepare to be WOWED.
Her (2013) | Drama, romance, sci-fi | R | 2 hours 6 minutes
Her is one of my favorite films set in the future due to its poignant exploration of human relationships and technology's impact on our emotional lives. Set in a not-so-distant future, the movie follows a man who falls in love with an advanced artificial intelligence operating system. Through its captivating storytelling and stellar performance by Joaquin Phoenix, the film delves into themes of love, loneliness and the boundaries between humans and machines. The film leaves a lasting impression and envokes deep reflection on our evolving connection with technology in a plausible and thought-provoking setting. It was made in 2013, but becomes even more impactful watching today with the current advancements in A.I.
Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century (1999) | Adventure, comedy, family | TV-G | 1 hour 37 minutes
Released in 1999, set in 2049 A.D., Zenon Kar (played by Kirsten Storms) and her parents live on a space station. After getting in trouble, Zenon is sent to live with her aunt on Earth, and we follow her journey from space gal to earthling. The clothes seem over the top yet still fit within the 90s fashion. The vocabulary adds humor and allows the audience to try to figure out what the characters mean! Plus, Raven Symone plays Nebula Wade, Zenon’s best friend.
Interstellar (2014) | Adventure, drama, sci-fi | PG-13 | 2 hours 49 minutes
As Earth faces crop blight, drought and a less-than-hospitable climate, a team of astronauts and researchers set out in search of a new home for humanity. The crew follows beacons left by a previous research team to three potentially hospitable planets. With hope fading as planets are discovered to be uninhabitable and the crew falling victim to accidents and fuel running low, Cooper (played by Matthew McConaughey) discovers a way to communicate with his daughter in the past. Featuring wormholes, gravitational time dilation and time travel via black hole, this sci-fi movie explores themes of survival, betrayal, love and hope.
Bonus: The footage of people describing drought and failing crops is pulled from Ken Burns’ 2012 documentary The Dust Bowl.
Dune (1984) | Sci-fi, adventure | PG-13 | 2 hours and 17 minutes
Dune (the book and the movies) is a great tie to ArtNow: The Soul Is a Wanderer. While set in a distant future, the perpetual human condition for control over a planet’s natural resources is brought forth in the power struggle for ownership of the spice called melange. This conflict affects the people who live on the planet where melange is produced.
In Oklahoma Contemporary’s exhibition, the meaning of life is questioned in samples of dirt and even up to the cosmos. In both Dune and ArtNow, natural resources are embedded in colonialism, history, religion and human resilience.
While Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya are amazing in the recent 2021 movie, the 1984 edition of the film is worth a watch for the futuristic punk rocker Sting, if nothing else!
In the year 10191, melange is the most valuable substance known in the universe, and its only source is the desert planet Arrakis. A royal decree awards Arrakis to Duke Leto Atreides and ousts his bitter enemies, the Harkonnens. When the Harkonnens violently seize back their fiefdom, it is up to Leto's son Paul (Kyle MacLachlan) to lead the Fremen, the natives of Arrakis, in a battle for control of the planet and its spice. Based on Frank Herbert's epic novel.
Traveling far and wide, friends! Keep your eyes peeled for more ArtNow #FridayFilms during the exhibition’s run. Need further viewing recs? Peep past suggestions.
Happy weekend and happy watching! Stretch your legs between movies, and see the inspiration for yourself in the galleries.
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